Memories of my childhood. 10-05-2010
Memories of my childhood are different from yours. As a small children we used to watch young boys playing football on our by lane. For us it was all ways Good Ball. They all played football made of rubber. It was about six inch in diameter. In those days football made of leather was very expensive. As a small child, we made our own Good ball. It was made of coir (coconut fiber) covered with old news page and tried it with jute rope. It was also same size like their rubber ball. Later years some of those played with same ball went on to play for young challengers at the Calicut main stadium.
With out pocket money we could not afford to buy football .till eight standards we used rubber ball to play football. While studying eighth standard we printed donation slips and went around our neighborhood to collect money for our club. In 70’s that was the method, we all use to buy our football and start clubs. At last, we had our first football made of leather. However, not every body can afford to buy football shoe. Therefore, we use canvas shoe to pay football.
I was always a goalkeeper. Defending my territory gave me all time high. In those days, T.V was not introduced in India. We get a chance to see FIFA at the theater before the start of main movie. My favorite was Pele, Francis Beken Beruva, and Polo Rossi. England Capitan and goalkeeper Shelton was my idol. In India, we had a sardaji called Charanjith Singh. He was so tall. Nothing can get past within his reach. The only way to score the goal was to send the ball between his long slender legs!
Summer vacation time national team like Mohan Bagan, Mohammedan sporting, Dembo, and other national level teams fight it for the Sait Nagaji Memorial Cup. In those days, our parents never gave us pocket money. We some time get free pass if not we hang around the stadium to know the result. We bet on our favorite team. We Keralites always encouraged good team and their players. In those days, food ball was a passion. No other game holds your breath like football. Now cricket had replaced football.
In 70’, we had three months monsoon in Kerala. Playing football on a rainy day was more fun than on summer. We always played simple football. We never bothered to play German method of formula play. You get through two of your opponent and pass it on… It was always like one dog running away with Idily (south Indian food) and all other dogs chasing him. Nobody likes to pass ball to others, every body want to score Goal. Therefore, the person who got the hang on the ball will take it all the way to the opponent’s goal post. There used to be over excitement. Even before, he could kick the ball into the goal post, not just the spectator alone, even players all scream in unison GOOOOOOAAAAAAAL!” What happened? Nothing! The striker fell flat on his back. Our playground was not a playground at all! It was a paddy field. Playing football on paddy field on a rainy days involved lots of unpredictable movement and little bit of skating. After the mud bath in paddy field, we take bath at in river if not at the temple pond.
There was a joke about our foot ball game. One of the prominent person after watching Kerala style of football asked the other person “why every body is running after one ball, why not provide ball for each one of them”. That was the way we had played football in those days. I also played cricket, shuttle badminton, chess, carom, video games, monopoly, Scotland Yard etc.
At the goal post there used to be virtual stampede. Call it mayhem! That was the time we settle scores. Kicking some one’s ass! The person who got kicked leaves the ball and look around for the offender. “Who kicked my ass”? You must see his facial expression. If someone laughs at him, he will get thrashing. Around FIFA time, everywhere you see people playing football. For keralites, football was a passion. I still believe they love football over the cricket.
Last time when I went to my native place, I went and visited my old playground. There I found new fast food restaurant, coffee shops, shopping mall, few modern flats and apartments. I went to one of the coffee shop and ordered for espresso coffee. I sat near the window, lit my cigarette and closed my eyes. There I saw my childhood friend and classmates playing Good Ball.
“Sir, Coffee….” Server woke me from my dream. Forty years ago, we used to play good ball on this very same place. I finished my coffee and paid for it. As I slowly walked out of the coffee shop my favorite singer Madonna’s song was on my mind.” This used to be my ply ground…” we guys had great life and fun with our Good Ball.
“Sweet memories never dies, they live with us until darkness envelope us” Jivan.
N.B. whenever I go to my native place I never personally meets any of my close childhood friends. Most of them settled down in life. Few of them are working on their family business. Running Jewellery shop or tailoring, others become engineer and doctor some of them are working abroad. In our native place, close childhood friends became family friend. I am ashamed to meet them personally. Even at fifty-three, I am yet to settle down in my life. I never took life seriously. There is less intelligence and more stupidity in me. Now I realize without qualification, money and godfather I am the creator of my own destiny. Slowly but steadily I am working towards it. Who says life starts at forty?